Environmental strategy

Erste Group’s environmental strategy is built on four pillars:

  • implementation of environmental management systems
  • integration of ecological criteria into banking products and services
  • implementation of a supply chain management system for all products and services needed to run the banking business
  • co-operation with environmental NGOs

Environmental footprint

  2017 2018 Veränderung
Electricity consumption 182 GWh 178 GWh -2,2%
Heating/cooling energy consumption 171 GWh 140 GWh -18,1%
Fuel consumption 38 GWh 45 GWh +18,4%
Total energy consumption 391 GWh 363 GWh -7,2%
CO2e-emissions (Scope 1 + 2) 76.936 t 61.543 t -20,0%
Copy paper consumption 1.733 t 1.705 t -1,6%

*) Due to the change in the number of entities covered, a comparison of data with those of the previous year is not meaningful. Although the number of entities included increased, total energy consumption and CO2e-emissions were reduced. This is mainly due to a change to electricity from renewable sources.

Environmental targets

As a bank, Erste Group is not using a lot of different natural resources. The main resources Erste Group consumes are: electric energy, energy for heating and warm water, fuel for business cars and paper (especially copy paper). Consumption of water and production of waste is not relevant and will therefore not be reported at all. To be able to manage the consumption of natural resources effectively, it is necessary to have a proper system in place on how to measure the consumption.

Based on the total consumption, clear targets about a more efficient consumption have been defined. The reduction targets set for the years 2012 to 2016 led to a notable decline in CO2e-emissions by -28%, electric energy -13%, heating energy -18%, and copy paper -20%.

Based on the data for 2018, new relative rather than absolute reduction targets for the following areas will be set by the end of 2019 for the following years: electric and heating energy consumption per square meter of office floor space (kWh/m2) or CO2e-emissions per employee, consumption of copy paper per employee (kg/FTE), and the share of hybrid or electric business cars.

Implementation of environmental management systems

ISO 14001 and/or ISO 50001 certifications in Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary have been completed, while implementation at the Holding and Erste Bank Oesterreich has been postponed to 2019/2020. Out of the Austrian savings banks, Steiermärkische Sparkasse has been ISO 14001 certified and Allgemeine Sparkasse Oberösterreich is ISO 50001 certified.

All material subsidiaries are expected to implement a certified environmental/energy management system by year-end 2020. This should create the basis for efficient monitoring of environmental data at all material entities.

Measures to reduce office paper consumption

The trend towards digitalisation in the banking business helps to reduce paper consumption. To minimize its environmental impact, Erste Group continuously runs paper-saving initiatives and takes ecological criteria, aiming for the goal of purchasing 100% recycled paper only, into account. In all countries outside Austria this target is nearly reached. Holding and Erste Bank Oesterreich are already close to 100%.


Ecological sourcing of products and services

Erste Group Procurement (EGP) continued its efforts to include environmental criteria in its purchasing activities. Since 2014, the “Ethical and Environmental Code of Conduct for Suppliers of Goods and Services” of EGP has been applied across the group. Supplier evaluation criteria include besides economic criteria also sustainability and environmental aspects. In addition, EGP staff must pass the online test of the “Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS)” based in England.


Bank products with ecological benefits

Erste Group continuously develops products and services for its customers that incorporate sustainability criteria, including in-vestment products and financing. Especially Erste’s Asset Management company contributes to this targets and is market leader with sustainable investments funds.

More information

Other environmental initiatives

Across the group, existing lighting systems have been replaced with LED systems wherever this made sense from an economical and technical point of view. At Erste Campus, water from large rainwater cisterns has been used for watering green spaces and flushing toilets since 2018.

Cooperation with environmental NGOs

An element of Erste Group’s environmental strategy is co-operating with environmental NGOs. From such a co-operation both sides can benefit. On the one hand Erste Group gets feedback on its measures and initiatives and an insight on what could be done to protect our natural environment in a better way. On the other hand, NGOs get access to a large organization to be able to discuss environmental issues and to be able to influence business decisions. Even though the partnership between Erste Group and the WWF Climate Group was not renewed for 2018, Erste Asset Management continues to work closely with WWF on ecologically sustainable investment funds.

Further detailed information is available in Erste Group’s (consolidated) non-financial report 2018.

For further information please contact:

Klaus Bergsmann
Head of Group Sustainability Office